Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 3.djvu/696

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


84

��STABAT MATER.

��fourteen divisions of the Stations of the Cross. The Poem written, towards the close of the 1 3th century by Jacobus de Benedictis, 1 is one of the finest examples of mediaeval Latin prose, second only to the ' Dies irse ' of Thomas de Celano. Several readings of it are extant ; 2 the one most frequently set to Music being that which immediately preceded its last revision in the Roman Office Books. There are also at least four distinct versions of its Plain Chaunt Melody, apart from minor differences attribut- able to local usage. The most important of these is one in the First Mode, given in the Ratisbon edition of the Gradual. The Ratisbon Vesperal contains another, in the same Mode, but entirely different. The Mechlin Office-Books contain yet another distinct form, in the Fourth Mode. Finally, it seems to have been sung, in the I5th century, to a Melody, in the Thirteenth Mode, known also as ' Comme feme.'

The beauty of the Poem has rendered it so great a favourite with Composers, that the num- ber of fine settings we possess is very great. The earliest example that demands special notice is the ' Stabat Mater' of Josquin des Pro's, founded upon the Canto fermo just mentioned, in the Thirteenth Mode transposed. 3 So elaborate is the construction of this work, that not one of the most highly-developed of the Composer's Masses surpasses it. The Canto fermo is sustained by the Tenor, in Larges, Longs, and Breves, through- out, while four other Voices accompany it, in Florid Counterpoint, in constant and ingenious Imitation of the most elaborate character.

��Secunda Pars.

��)-

  • J~ Can

��Canto Fermo.

��Ji

��^+1*^. jj _ .A

��- - - ter.

���fons a - - mo - ris

But not even Josquin's masterpiece will bear comparison with the two grand settings of the ' Stabat Mater' by Palestrina, either of which, as Baini observes, would alone have sufficed to immortalise him. The first and best-known of these, written for a Double-Choir of eight Voices, has long been annually sung, in the Sistine

1 Ob. 1306.

2 See Daniel's ' Thesaurus Hymnologicus.' (Halls, 1841.)

s Pietro Aron quotes this fine Composition as an example of the Fifth Mode; and Zarlino, as one of the Eleventh. For an explanation of these apparent discrepancies, see vol. li. p. 342 a, and vol. iii. p. 261 a, in foot-note. The work was first printed in Petrucci's ' Mo- tetti della Corona,' Lib. iii. No. 6 (Fossombrone, 1519). About forty years ago, Choron reprinted it in Score, in Paris ; and in 1881 It was .given in the Notenbeilagen to Ambros's ' Geschichte der Musik,' p. 61. The ' Gluck Society' performed it, in London, on May 24, 1881.

��STABAT MATER.

Chapel, on the Thursday in Holy Week, and was first published by Burney in his 'La Musica della Settimana Santa,' on the authority of a copy given to him by Santarelli.* It is enough to say that the Composition signalises the author of the ' Missa Papse Marcelli ' in every page ; and, that the opening phrase, containing a pro- gression of three Major Chords, on a Bass de- scending by Major Seconds, produces one of the most original and beautiful effects ever heard in Polyphonic Music. Chorus I.

���lo - ro - Chor. I.

��m

��m

��tte- (-

�� ��mo - sa, Bum Chor. II.

���pen - de - bat Fi - 11 - us.

Palestrina's second ' Stabat Mater ' is written for twelve Voices, disposed in three Choirs ; and is, in every way, a worthy companion to the pre- ceding work. 5 Ambros, indeed, denies its au- thenticity, and, on the authority of an entry in the catalogue of the Altaemps-Ottoboni Col- lection in the Library of the Collegio Romano, refers it to Felice Anerio, notwithstanding Baini's decisive verdict in its favour : but, the internal evidence afforded by the work itself is enough to remove all doubt on the subject. It is not only a genuine work, but one of the finest Palestrina ever wrote. For the effect produced by the union of the three Choirs, at the words, '0 quam tristis,' as well as the manner of their alternation, in other parts of the Sequence, we must refer our readers to the work itself, in the 7th volume of Breitkopf & Hartel's complete edition.

Few modern settings of the 'Stabat Mater,' with Orchestral Accompaniments, are finer than (i) that by Pergolesi, for Soprano and Contralto, accompanied by Strings and Organ (to which Paisiello afterwards supplied 'Additional Ac- companiments' for Wind). (2) Haydn's ' Stabat

< It was afterwards published. In Paris, by Choron ; and by Alfierl. in his ' Baccolta di Musica sacra,' vol. vi. (Boma, 1845.) It has since appeared in vol. vii. of Breitkopf 's complete edition. For an inter- esting criticism upon it see Oulibichefs 'Nouvelle Biographic da Mozart,' ii. 72. He was perhaps the first to call attention to it. It has been recently edited, with marks of expression, introduction of solo voices, and other changes, by Wagner.

e First printed in Alfieri's ' Baccolta,' vol. vii. (Roma, 1846).

�� �